Kakadu National Park Maguk Gorge in Kakadu National Park – Image courtesy of Tourism NT

Kakadu National Park

In Australia's largest national park, discover a landscape of contrasts, from rocky gorges and thundering waterfalls cascading into serene pools to delicate lotus flowers concealing gigantic crocodiles.

Renowned for its Aboriginal rock art and abundant wildlife, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park covers an area of 19,804km² (7,646mi²), and extends nearly 200km (120mi) from north to south and more than 100km (62mi) from east to west.

Here you can cruise wetlands filled with lily pads and bird life, spot sun-baking crocodiles along the banks of rivers and discover ancient Aboriginal rock art galleries at Ubirr and Burrungkuy (Nourlangie).

Kakadu's rock art represents one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world. It is also one of the reasons Kakadu received World Heritage status. The paintings provide a fascinating record of Aboriginal life over thousands of years.

Numerous sign-posted trails and 4WD tracks provide the opportunity for self-guided exploration; while tours with Indigenous guides provide a cultural insight into the rock art.

Aboriginal rock paintings, Kakadu National Park

Hike through the sacred Aboriginal Nourlangie Rock area, explore sandstone galleries and examine some of the more than 5,000 Aboriginal rock art dating back at least 20,000 and possibly up to 40,000 years.

At Ubirr, examine rock paintings of goanna, kangaroo and the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger.

Stroll among the more than 1000 plant species and look out for thousands of magpie geese as well as red goshawks and the endangered gouldian finch – Australia's most spectacularly coloured grass finch.

Join a cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong to spot crocodiles and wildlife in their natural habitat. At Bubba Wetlands discover plants and animals typical of Kakadu.

Gaze out over the floodplains, woodlands and dark ribbons of rainforest and spot native wildlife such as Wilkins rock wallabys and blue-winged kookaburras.

To learn about the culture and heritage of the park's traditional owners visit either the Bowali Cultural Centre near Jabiru or the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre near Cooinda.

Kakadu National Park is located around 250km (155mi) from Darwin – a three-and-a-half-hour drive. Plan to stay in Jabiru or Cooinda and allow up to three days to see all the sights.

Must-see sights – from north to south – at Kakadu National Park, include…

Sunset from Nadab Lookout, Kakadu National Park

Ubirr

Stroll along the circular pathway at the base of Ubirr and absorb ancient stories as revealed in an array of Aboriginal paintings. Here, you can examine layers of rock-art paintings, in various styles and from various centuries.

According to Aboriginal belief, ancestral spirits assumed human forms thousands of years ago to create the world and Australia as we know it.

Applying red, yellow, white and black pigments to rock, indigenous Australians began recording tales of this creation period, known as the 'Dreamtime,' as early as 40,000 years ago.

Much of the art at Ubirr features fish, turtles, goanna and other important food animals.

A 1km return trail passes several rock art sites as well as leading up to a lookout over the Nadab floodplain.

Along the route, see images of yam-head figures that date back around 15,000 years as well as images of kangaroos, tortoises and fish painted in the x-ray style within the last 1,500 years.

Don’t miss the paintings of major creation ancestors, including Namarrkon Sisters who were responsible for the violent lightning storms that occur every summer, and the Rainbow Serpent who created waterholes and rock passages in the Kakadu landscape, helping form the habitat and the lifecycle of plants and animals.

In the main gallery, discover a painting of the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger, which became extinct on the mainland more than two thousand years ago), which gives an idea of the age of some of this art.

Ubirr’s rock art is considered among the best in the world, with fine examples of x-ray painting as well as contact art dating from the time when Indigenous people first encountered Europeans.

A moderately steep 250m track leads to the rocky Nadab Lookout from where you can admire the 360° panorama of the floodplains and escarpment, with great views anytime, but especially unforgettable at sunset.

Ubirr's rock-art galleries can be viewed by following the easy circular walking track from the car park. Allow one hour for the walk, and a further 30 minutes for the climb to the lookout. The area around the main art site is flat and accessible to wheelchairs.

Ubirr is located 45km (28mi) north of Jabiru via a sealed road. Jabiru is around 256km (160mi) east of Darwin.


Manngarre rainforest, Kakadu National Park

Manngarre

Explore the monsoon rainforest surrounding the East Alligator River system – an environment rich in bird and wildlife – on the circular 1.5km Manngarre walk.

The walk comprises three interconnected loops ranging from 600m to 1.5km (0.9mi) in length. The path is graded easy and takes about one hour for the longest section; one loop leads through rainforest to an elevated viewing platform that overlooks the river.

The surrounding area has strong indigenous heritage. Aboriginal people set up camp here to because of the diverse foods available from the East Alligator River, the Nadab floodplain, the woodlands, and the surrounding stone country.

Guided walks departs from the information shelter at the boat ramp on the East Alligator River on Fridays.


Crocs at Cahill's Crossing, Kakadu National Park

Cahill's Crossing

This shallow causeway crosses the East Alligator River from Kakadu National Park on the west bank to Arnhem Land to the east.

The crossing becomes submerged with the tides and is often unpassable during the wet season, from November to April.

Look out for the prolific population of saltwater crocodiles. Ask at Border Store or Jabiru's Northern Land Council for tide timings.

If you're not planning to across, head down to the elevated lookout on the west bank to spot crocodiles; but venture no further as the crocodiles often lie in wait right by the riverbank.

If you're heading east into Arnhem Land, you need a permit, which may be obtained from the Northern Land Council in Jabiru.


Sandstone pillars seen on Bardedjilidji walk, Kakadu National Park

Bardedjilidji walk – The 2.5km Bardedjildji loop track is one of Kakadu’s most interesting short walks and offers scenic views of the East Alligator River, Cat Fish Creek, floodplains, billabongs and the sandstone rock formations in the area.

Soak up some stunning views and look out for iconic wildlife as you stroll past towering sandstone pillars and small pockets of monsoonal rainforest in the paperbark-lined bank of the East Alligator River.

Much of Kakadu’s animals live in this area, including the northern quoll, marrawuddi (white bellied sea-eagle), barrk (black wallaroo), ngalarrangailarra (short-beaked echidna), guilododo (chestnut-quilled rock-pigeon) and sulphur-crested cockatoos.

Look out for rock art on the walls, but take care not to touch or rub the paintings.

Bardedjilidji is the local Aboriginal word for walking track or pathway. The name also refers to the roots of water-lilies growing in freshwater swamps and billabongs.

Bardedjilidji walk begins at a small carpark 500m from the upstream boat ramp. Best taken between May to December.

Badbong Wodjmeng River Walk, Kakadu National Park

Badbong Wodjmeng sandstone river walk – Follow the 6.5km return loop trail for a fascinating journey through the rainforest, stone country, flood plains and escarpments of Kakadu National Park.

The marked circular trail passes sandstone rocks, pandanus-fringed pools, and along the shores of the East Alligator River. Along the way look out for lavender-flanked wrens and peregrine falcons.

This region has its own distinct plant species mixed with more widespread species, which is continually changing with the seasons.

The trackhead is located not far along the road to Ubirr in the national park. While the walk is graded moderate you need to be fit to do this walk, and shouldn’t attempt it alone. It generally takes up to four hours to complete.

Along the river look out for marrawuddi (white-bellied sea-eagle), which snatch fish from the river with their powerful talons. This walk is also great for croc-spotting, but please stay out of the river and pools.


Burrungkuy rock art, Kakadu National Park

Burrungkuy (Nourlangie Rock)

This region of the Arnhem Land escarpment features red-sandstone – striped in places with orange, white and black – that slopes up from the surrounding woodland to fall away at one end in stepped cliffs; below which you can find Kakadu's best-known collection of rock art.

Here you can examine some of the world’s oldest and most impressive rock art that documents life in the region from 20,000 years ago to the first contact with European explorers.

For the traditional custodians, the rock art is an expression of cultural identity and connection to country. The act of painting is generally more important than the painting itself so many older paintings are covered by more recent works.

Follow the 2km (1.2mi) looped walking track (open 8am to sunset) to the renowned Anbangbang Gallery and Shelter. Along the way look out for endemic species such as the chestnut-quilled rock pigeon and the black wallaroo.

Namarrgon (lightning man), Nourlangie, Kakadu National Park

In the Anbangbang Gallery, discover artistic representations of the creation ancestors, such as Namarrgon (lightning man), as well as x-ray art of animals, fish and intriguing depictions of European sailing ships from first contact with white people.

Take a ranger-guided tour of Nourlangie to learn about the geology and archaeology of the area and get insights into the way Indigenous people used Anbangbang Shelter and their ancient cultural connection with the land.

Climb up to the Gunwarddehwardde Lookout for sweeping views of both Kakadu's escarpment and Burrungkuy (Nourlangie Rock), with its sandstone cliffs and expansive savannah woodlands.

Along the way listen out for the helmeted friar birds or try to spot the elusive spangled drongos while emerald doves and banded fruit-doves dart about the tree canopy.

The path to the main gallery is open all year round and is wheelchair accessible.


Barrk Sandstone Walk, Kakadu National Park

Barrk Sandstone Walk – Enjoy spectacular views, experience a variety of habitats and see the Nanguluwurr art site on this 12km (7.4mi) loop trail which passes the main gallery of Aboriginal rock art before continuing through the sandstone country of Burrungkuy (Nourlangie).

Halfway along this rugged walking trail you’ll find one of the park’s cultural wonders at the Nanguluwurr art site. Paintings depicting spirits, animals, ships and people from different periods are all found here.

Climb to the top of Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) – the sandstone outcrop looms tall above the surrounding woodland like an island.

Along the way see black wallaroos and a variety of birdlife including the chestnut-quilled rock-pigeon, conspicuous by the loud clapping of its wings.

As you leave Nanguluwurr you will pass through a transitional zone of sandstone outcrops, rock slabs, prickly spinifex and open woodland.

The final stretch of the track along the woodland floor offers spectacular views of Burrungkuy’s western cliffs.

Allow six hours to complete the loop trail. Access is from January to October.

Nourlangie lies at the end of a 12km (7.4mi) sealed road that turns east off Kakadu Hwy, 21km (13mi) south of Arnhem Hwy; the turn-off to Muirella Park camping ground, with BBQs and excellent facilities is a further 7km (4mi) south.


Anbangbang Billabong Walk, Kakadu National Park

Anbangbang Billabong walk – Soak up the serenity of Anbangbang Billabong on this short 2.5km (1.5mi) loop walk with Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) forming a spectacular backdrop.

This is an easy, quiet walk through savannah woodlands and paperbark forest, all framing a billabong teeming with bird life.

Anbangbang Billabong is an incredible part of Kakadu, relaxing and inspiring at any time of the day. The fringing woodlands are home to more species of plants and animals than any other Kakadu habitat.

Along the way look out for magpie geese, green pygmy geese, egrets, comb-crested jacanas, cormorants, corellas and red-tailed black cockatoos.

During the hours of early morning and evening, wallabies move out of the woodlands to graze beneath the paperbark trees by the billabong.

According to Aboriginal legend, in the creation era a male and female badbong (short-eared rock wallaby) travelled through this area. They cut two crevices in Nawurlandja and parted the trees to form Anbangbang Billabong.

Part of the walk is wheelchair accessible, including the path to the picnic table area, with dry season access only. The trail is 1km from Nourlangie Rock parking area.


First contact rock art, Nanguluwurr Gallery, Kakadu National Park

Nanguluwurr Gallery – Follow the 3.4km (2.1mi) return trail to the famous Nanguluwurr Gallery – a small rock art site on the northern side of Burrungkuy (Nourlangie).

Within this small Aboriginal rock art gallery you may discover a range of rock art styles, including hand stencils of dynamic figures in large headdresses carrying spears and boomerangs, Namandi spirits and mythical figures such as Alkajko, a female spirit with four arms and horn-like protuberances.

Here you can see depictions of ancestral spirits, animals, and the fascinating early depiction of contact between Aboriginal people and Europeans in the form of a two-masted sailing ship with anchor chain.

For thousands of years Nanguluwurr was a major camping site for Aboriginal people, as it sits on the main walking route from the escarpment country to the South Alligator floodplain.

The track to the Nanguluwurr art site passes through woodlands populated with many species of wildflower.

In the dry season look for the pretty pink star-shaped flowers of the turkey bush; and during the wet season you may see red bush apples ripening and the Kakadu plum flowers beginning to fruit.

Along the way, look out also for grey-crowned babblers, butcher birds, finches and friar birds.


Kubara pools walk, Kakadu National Park

Kubara pools walk – the Kubara pools walk is an idyllic 6km (3.7mi) walk through savannah woodlands, sandstone country and monsoonal rainforest.

Look out for dingos, wallabies and lizards on your way to the main creek.

Once you’re at the pools listen to water cascading over boulders, watch the light on the rippling water and perhaps catch a glimpse of a banded fruit-dove, rainbow pitta or azure kingfisher diving into the water to eat small fish.

Although this walk is open most of the year, the Kubara pools walk is most popular during the tropical wet season when lillies and orchids are on show.

Early in the dry season you can see several eucalypt species, grevilleas and swamp bloodwoods show off in yellow, orange and crimson-red hues.


Jim Jim Falls in wet season, Kakadu National Park

Jim Jim Falls

Located at the end of a 4WD track in the southern escarpment country of Kakadu, the imposing 200m-high waterfalls at Jim Jim Falls are not to be missed.

Jim Jim Falls is best seen from the air during the wet season, when water roars over the drop and the road is impassable. During the dry season, when access is possible, the falls are reduced to a trickle.

Marvel at the contrast between the red ochre of the Arnhem Land escarpment and the white sandy beaches, then cool off with a dip in in the crystal clear water of the plunge pool – it's worth the nearly 2km (1.2mi) return walk across boulders to reach the pool. Allow two hours one-way.

Jim Jim Falls is located east off the Kakadu Highway around 43km (26.7mi) south of the Bowali Centre. The falls are a further 60km (37mi) along the 4WD track.

The last 10km (6mi) of track includes areas of soft sand. From here, you can also take the 2km (1.2mi) trail to Twin Falls Gorge.

Jim Jim Falls plunge pool in dry season, Kakadu National Park

Plunge Pool Walk – This 2km (1.2mi) return walk takes you through monsoon forest and over boulders to a deep plunge pool and beach pool all surrounded by dramatic 200m-high cliffs.

The initial part of this walk is along an easy to moderate marked track for about 400m, after which the track involves scrambling over increasingly large and sometimes slippery boulders.

The trail leads through a large anbinik forest, which are the largest trees of the escarpment country and are among some of the oldest species of vegetation on the planet, dating back more than 400 million years.

Look out for white-lined honeyeaters and the striated pardalote hidden in the overhead canopy and rainbow pittas in the undergrowth. Mertens water monitors can often be seen sunbaking on a boulder.

The name Jim Jim comes from andjimdjim, an Aboriginal name for the water pandanus that line the creek.

The plunge pool is very deep and at times shockingly cold. A white-sand beach close by offers a chance to sunbathe and warm up.

When the falls are in full flood during the tropical wet summer they can only be seen from above on a scenic flight. However, during the dry season when the falls decrease in volume it's relatively easy to hike into the heart of the gorge and sit in the shadow of these spectacular cliffs.

Allow three hours (return) to complete the walk and relax at the falls. Access to Jim Jim Falls is usually from May to September only.

Barrk Marlam Walk, Kakadu National Park

Barrk Marlam walk – Perfect for experienced bush walkers, this challenging 6km (3.7mi) return trail offers stunning views above the Jim Jim Falls escarpment.

The marked trail branches off the Jim Jim Falls plunge pool track and follows a rugged, steep ascent to the top of Jim Jim Falls.

Park authorities recommend you carry at least three litres of water per person and keep the trail markers in sight.

Once you reach the plateau you may catch a glimpse of black wallaroos, chestnut-quilled rock-pigeons and sandstone shrike-thrushes; while in the skies above, look out for a soaring peregrine falcon or black-breasted buzzard.

Then cool off with a refreshing swim in one of the shallow rock pools found towards the end of the trail.

Allow four to six hours to complete the hike, with 4WD access only from June to October.


Twin Falls in the dry season, Kakadu National Park

Twin Falls Gorge

Enjoy a short shuttle boat cruise to the base of the spectacular Twin Falls Gorge, or take a 4WD to the car park, then tackle the walking trail over boulders and sand to get to the boardwalk. Tickets for the boat shuttle can be purchased at the Bowali Visitor Centre.

Later, hike the 2km (1.2mi) trail through monsoon forest and over slippery boulders to reach the deep plunge pool at Jim Jim Falls.

Twin Falls Gorge is located around 18km (11mi) from Karnamarr. The last section involves a deep water crossing at Jim Jim Creek. Allow half an hour from Jim Jim Falls, one way.

Twin Falls plateau walk – Experience stunning views down the 150m-high gorge from the lookout in this remote and unspoilt wilderness.

The marked bushwalk leads through rugged sandstone outcrops and shady rainforests with enormous anbinik trees before the steep ascent to the lookout above Twin Falls.

Follow the creek further upstream to have a refreshing dip in the rock pools before returning to the car park.


Cruising Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu National Park

Yellow Water Billabong

Discover the perfect location to view the flora and fauna of the South Alligator River floodplain. Cruise the palm-fringed waters to see fish, migratory birds and saltwater crocodiles.

Yellow Water is a landlocked billabong brimming with native flora and fauna and is one of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park's best-known landmarks.

Known as Ngurrungurrudjba, the billabong is home to crocodiles, wild horses, buffalo and other wildlife. The vast range of resident birdlife includes jacana, egrets, jabiru, sea eagles, magpie geese and many other native species.

Experience the park's wildlife on board a Yellow Water Cruise or during a walk along the boardwalks on the water's edge.

Stroll the boardwalk to see the paperbark forests, pandanus and fresh water mangroves that line the shore. Note the beautiful pink and white waterlilies that lie scattered across the surface of the billabong.

Once the waters recede, walk across the floodplains to the viewing platform on Home Billabong - a great place to take in an unforgettable Top End sunset.

Yellow Water Cruise – Kakadu's Yellow Water Cruise gets underway from Cooinda, around 50km (31mi) south of Jabiru.

Cruise through the wetlands and observe the multitude of bird species found in the park, including the native eagles and the magpie geese, while looking out for saltwater crocodiles.

Cruises operate throughout the day but the most popular tours are at sunrise or sunset.

Known as Ngurrungurrudjba, Yellow Water billabong is located near the small settlement of Cooinda, around 7.5km (4.6mi) off the Kakadu National Highway, southwest of Jabiru.

Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Kakadu National Park

Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre – Learn more about Kakadu National Park at the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, located 1km from Cooing Lodge.

Here you can see the connection Aboriginal people have traditionally had with the land and the way this continues today. The Cultural Centre includes a diverse gallery of arts and crafts produced by artists from the Kakadu region.


Swimming plunge pool at Maguk Gorge, Kakadu National Park

Maguk Gorge

Discover one of Kakadu's lesser-known attractions, Maguk Gorge is home to a pristine natural waterfall and plunge pool at the base of steep gorge walls.

Look out for spangled drongos and rainbow pitas in the rainforest, swim with the black bream in the plunge pool and marvel at the majestic endemic anbinik trees along the ancient rocky outcrops.

Maguk Gorge is one of the only waterfalls in the park that still continues to flow even when there is no rain. Although, the flow is much weaker at the end of the dry season than throughout the rest of the year, particularly during the height of the wet season.

Originally, Maguk was known as Barramundi Gorge, named after one of the most popular fish in the region. Access is from November to March.

Located about an hour's drive south from Cooinda, Maguk Gorge is accessed from a 14km (8.6mi) 4WD track off the Kakadu Highway, south of Jabiru, followed by a one kilometre walk through monsoon forests, crossing Barramundi Creek.


Plunge pool at Gunlom, Kakadu National Park

Gunlom plunge pool

Take the easy 100m-long path to the lower picture-perfect plunge pool, then hike up the short, steep climb to the swimming pools and a small waterfall at the top to the escarpment.

From here, at the top of Gunlom, enjoy a relaxing and well-deserved dip in the crystal clear pools and discover sweeping views of three habitats of this region, which are especially remarkable during the hours of sunrise and sunset.

Gunlom plunge pool is located towards the southern end of Kakadu National Park, around 200km (125mi) south of Jabiru.

Gunlom Lookout Walk – Follow the signs to the Gunlom Lookout Walk. This steep 1km return climb requires an increased level of fitness but takes you up to the top of Gunlom falls and its natural infinity pool.

Here you can swim in the rock pools while admiring the breathtaking views of the southern end of Kakadu National Park.

Note: Please be cautious while walking around the pools above the falls as the polished rock can be extremely slippery when wet.


Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin) Gorge, Kakadu National Park

Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin) Gorge

Located in the southern part of Kakadu along the Gunlom Road, Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin) Gorge is an outstandingly pretty gorge, surrounded by rugged cliffs and lush greenery with great views from the scenic rim of the waterhole.

Stroll through the scenic bush, cool-off with a dip in the plunge pool and enjoy a picnic by the water's edge.

Access to Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin) Gorge is restricted, and you must have a permit to visit. A limit of 40 people are allowed to use the area at any one time.

Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin) Gorge walk – A short walk leads to the sparkling plunge pools and waterfalls at the entrance to the gorge or take the longer 2km (1.24mi) trail to explore the further reaches of this beautiful gorge.

While you're here look out for black wallaroos and the brightly coloured gouldian finch as well as the rare hooded parrot. Found only in this region's hilly and woodland country, the hooded parrot nests in termite mounds where its eggs are incubated.

Saltwater crocodiles can be seen in the creek alongside the nearby campground and vegetation pool: don’t swim or collect water in either. Please pay attention to all signage and permit conditions.


Plunge pool at Gunlom, Kakadu National Park

Mamukala Wetlands

Head to the covered observation platform or stroll through these tranquil wetlands to see an abundance of birds and wildlife.

Mamukala is beautiful all year but at its most dramatic during the late dry season from September to October when thousands of magpie geese congregate and feed on the lush vegetation surrounding the wetlands.

You can also spot kites, comb-crested jacanas, cormorants, willie wagtails, purple swamp hens, finches and kingfishers, which makes this billabong one of the best birdwatching areas in Kakadu.

If you are lucky you may even spot an agile wallaby or the occasional crocodile loitering around the edge of the billabong.

A 3km (1.8mi) return path runs adjacent to the wetlands, allowing you to spot egrets, darters, herons and forest kingfishers. Paperbark trees and pandanus line the wetland perimeter, with colourful water lilies punctuating the wetlands.

The bird hide can be reached by wheelchair users.

Mamukala wetlands is located on the Arnhem Highway around 33km (20mi) west of Jabiru in the South Alligator region of Kakadu.


Where to stay

There are a variety of designated camping sites located throughout Kakadu National Park. Some of the camp sites charge a nominal fee as these have shower and toilet facilities; others are free, but offer limited or no facilities.

A list of camping sites can be obtained from the Kakadu National Park's Bowali Visitor Centre or from their website.

Jabiru, Cooinda and South Alligator all have commercial camping areas.

Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Kakadu National Park at TripAdvisor.


Best time to visit Kakadu National Park

The best time to visit Kakadu National Park (and the Darwin region) is during the winter dry season from April to October. At this time you can expect cooler weather and minimal rainfall.

Kakadu National Park experiences a tropical monsoonal climate characterised by two main seasons: the dry season and the wet season, with a fairly similar temperature all year round.

The dry season is characterised by warm, sunny days with an average high of 32°C (89°F) in April, May, September and October, and 31°C (87°F) in June, July and August. Humidity is relatively low and rain is unusual.

The wet season, from November to March, is characterised by warm temperatures and monsoonal rain. This season brings the waterfalls and floodplains to life; some roads are closed due to flooding.

At Jabiru, the average maximum temperature for January is 33°C (91°F). Annual rainfall in Kakadu National Park ranges from 1,565mm in Jabiru to 1,300mm in the Mary River region.

During the 'build up' from October to December – the transition between the dry and the wet – conditions can be extremely uncomfortable with high temperatures and high humidity.

Storms are impressive and lightning strikes are frequent. The Top End of Australia records more lightning strikes per year than anywhere else in Australia. At Jabiru, the average maximum temperature for October is 37°C (99°F).

Most non-Aboriginal people only refer to the wet and dry seasons, but the Bininj/Mungguy Indigenous people identify with as many as six seasons in the Kakadu region, including…
Kunumeleng – mid-October to late December, pre-monsoon storm season with hot weather and building thunderstorms in the afternoons;
Kudjewk – from January to March, monsoon season with thunderstorms, heavy rain, and flooding; the heat and humidity generate an explosion of plant and animal life;
Bangkerreng – April, the storm season where floodwater recedes but violent, windy storms knock down grasses;
Yekke – from May to mid-June, relatively cool with low humidity, when the Indigenous people historically started burning the woodlands in patches to 'clean the country' and encourage new growth for grazing animals;
Wurrkeng – from mid-June to mid-August, the cold weather season with low humidity; most creeks stop flowing and the floodplains quickly dry out;
Kurrung – from mid-August to mid-October, hot dry weather with ever-shrinking billabongs.

About Darwin weather


How to get to Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is located around 243km (151mi) from Darwin, a 3-hour drive on sealed roads

The most convenient route to Darwin, from overseas or interstate, is by air to Darwin International Airport (DRW), located about 12km (7.4mi) northeast of Darwin city centre.

Note: All visitors to Kakadu require a park pass. Your pass includes entry to the park, ranger guided walks and talks, and interpretive materials.


Getting around

Due to the sheer number of must-see attractions in Kakadu, it's best to either rent or take your own car, or book an organised tour – numerous Darwin-based tour companies run tours to the park's main highlights.

You may also choose to drive the Nature’s Way from Darwin through Kakadu National Park and into Nitmiluk National Park before returning via Litchfield National Park.

Kakadu to Katherine via Pine Creek is 152km (94mi), Katherine to Litchfield National Park is 300km (186mi), and Litchfield to Darwin is about 116km (72mi).

Kakadu National Park is linked to Darwin by the Arnhem Highway and to Pine Creek and Katherine by the Kakadu Highway. Both roads are sealed all weather roads although they may be cut off periodically during periods of heavy rain.

The small town of Jabiru has several accommodation options as well as a small airport from which scenic flights operate daily. However, here are no scheduled air services between Jabiru and Darwin.

Other small tourism centres such as Cooinda and South Alligator offer limited facilities.

Cooinda, 50km (31mi) south of Jabiru on the Kakadu Highway is the site of Gagudju Lodge Cooinda, Yellow Water Cruises and the Warradjan Cultural Centre. There is also a small airstrip for scenic flights.

South Alligator is around 40km (25mi) west of Jabiru on the Arnhem Highway and includes a hotel.

About how to get to Darwin


Latest update: Kakadu National Park: 19 October, 2020


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